While working in Cheyenne Wyoming last January, I ended up with a rare spare day which I utilized to the best of my ability to go sightseeing around the local area.
Read on for more – lots of photos and several videos included.
I don’t get out to Wyoming for work very often, although I have been a few times before and I’ve even ridden across the state twice on my motorcycle, and once in an RV.
It’s a beautiful state in what’s called big sky country. It’s called this because you can see everywhere for miles and miles with huge sky scenery dominating the landscape.
Working in Cheyenne is interesting. It’s a smaller town than I had imagined.
On July 5, 1867, General Grenville M. Dodge and his survey crew plotted the site now known as Cheyenne in Dakota Territory (later Wyoming Territory).
This site was chosen as the point at which the Union Pacific Railroad crossed Crow Creek, a tributary of the South Platte River. It was named for the American Indian Cheyenne tribe, one of the most famous and prominent Great Plains tribes.
The construction of the Union Pacific Railroad brought hopes of prosperity to the region when it reached Cheyenne on November 13, 1867. The population at the time numbered over 4,000, and grew rapidly. This rapid growth earned the city the nickname “Magic City of the Plains”.
The railroad yard / depot is very large, one of the biggest I’ve seen.
Kinda cool to see it because I used to watch a show called Hell on Wheels about the railroad being built to Cheyenne.
Must note that downtown Cheyenne has some a pretty good scene with some nice restaurants and historic hotels and businesses.
Once my work had been completed for the week I decided to get out and check out the local scene so I hopped in my rental car and went for a drive to see what I could find.
The drive was really nice and beautiful, lots of open road and big sky.
My first stop was Curt Gowdy State Park which was 25 miles away, about halfway between Cheyenne and Laramie.
The state park covers 3,395 acres and is known for its extensive trail system, fishing reservoirs, and Hynds Lodge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of the lakes was partially covered in ice and was really cool to see.
While driving around the park I spotted a guy ice fishing (he is in the middle left side in the photo below), wonder if he caught anything?
After driving around the park for a while and checking out a few lakes and some trails,
I got back on the road driving down some obscure all dirt back roads to get out to the highway and drove to see a monument in shape of a pyramid that I had read about.
The Ames Monument is a large pyramid in Albany County, Wyoming, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and dedicated to brothers Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames, Jr., Union Pacific Railroad financiers.
The brothers garnered credit for connecting the nation by rail upon completion of the United States’ First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869
After viewing the Ames monument I drove north.
On the way I found an interesting and obscure giant head of Abraham Lincoln
No one heading west on I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming, can possibly miss this colossal, craggy Abraham Lincoln head towering over traffic at exit 323.
Lincoln’s head was built by Wyoming’s Parks Commission to honor Lincoln’s 150th birthday. It was sculpted by Robert Russin, a University of Wyoming art professor and a Lincoln fan (When he died in 2007, his ashes were interred in the hollow monument).
The head originally stood alongside the highest point of the old coast-to-coast Lincoln Highway, at Sherman Summit, 8,878 feet above sea level. When I-80 was completed in 1969, the head was moved here — losing a couple of hundred feet (and its key rationale for existing, really) but gaining a vast new audience.
The bronze head weighs over two tons and is 13.5 feet tall. It’s perched atop a 30-foot granite pedestal, ensuring that it can be seen from quite a distance.
After checking out the monument I got back on the highway and drove to Laramie.
Laramie is an even smaller town than Cheyenne but it was interesting. I drove up and down a few of the main streets to see what was there.
Decided to find a place to stop for lunch and came across a big divey place called the old Buckhorn Bar and parlor. I had to stop and check this one out and was glad I did.
The Old Buckhorn Bar and Parlor is the oldest watering hole in Laramie. For 119 years, it’s hosted generations of thirsty locals and visitors alike…and it has the scars to prove it.
One of the Buckhorn’s wildest moments left its mark in history. 48 years ago, one of the regulars flew into a mad fit of rage when a bartender ignored his advances. In a drunken stupor, he pulled his pistol.
One shot went through the ceiling, another into the alley and his final shot landed in the mirror behind the bar. If you look closely, you can still see the bullet hole to this day (it’s in the photo below).
The beer was cheap and taxidermy plentiful.
The Buck Horn Bar is a cool old west locals bar with multiple levels. While there I just had a few beers but heard the food was pretty decent too.
Any bar with a pool table is always fun to hang out at, especially a place that allows dogs.
“These Boots are Made for Talking,” a fundraising project of the Cheyenne Depot Museum Foundation, was produced by local artists. Several of these eight-foot tall cowboy boots were placed in and around downtown Cheyenne in the summer of 2004.
This boot in the photo below was outside of the building where I was working which was the National Center for Atmospheric Research Supercomputing Center , thus the boot was painted appropriately for the location.
All in all it was a great drive exploring Wyoming and checking out a few places.
Thanks for reading my story and checking out my photos
Please subscribe for more, cheers!